Level up your Climate Job Search Q&A:
1. Does Climate People help those seeking roles in sales/partnerships/general admin?
We are focused on filling technical product/software roles and do not currently hire for sales/partnerships/general admin roles.
We are growing rapidly and hope to continue to broaden the types of positions we can fill. I'd encourage you to sign up for our newsletter and connect with us on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on new positions as they become available.
Climate People has compiled some of our favorite resources for climate career seekers here and here.
2. Do you forsee all the recent tech layoffs/slowing economy also affecting hiring in the climate space, either positively or negatively?
To start off, it’s hard to see these talented folks losing their jobs due to the economy. To find a positive in the negative, it definitely opens up more talent to be available to get into the climate tech space and climate tech is not going anywhere! All skillsets can carry over. Check out these two articles:
I would say that there is resiliency built into some climate tech solutions - e.g. for renewable energy, the need for it isn’t going anywhere. That said, not all companies will make it for reasons that aren’t always related to the validity of the solution areas themselves.
3. When researching climate tech companies, I often get the same list of the top 10 companies – what tools do you use to discover a broader variety of companies - big and small?
You can utilize companies that our panelists come from!
Climate People: www.climatepeople.com - recruiting solely for climate startups!
Terra.do: https://terra.do/ - a professional network to land the perfect climate job
Also, go through LinkedIn and similar companies will pop up on your screen and you can go down a rabbit hole! You can utilize other resources such as:
VC job boards: e.g. MCJ Job Board, Breakthrough Energy, Lowercarbon Capital. There will be lots of overlap here, but there’s also a huge range of jobs too.
Slack Groups: Work On Climate, ClimateAction.tech, MCJ Collective
Informative newsletters: Climate People, The Climate Capital Stack, Volts, LinkedIn's Leaders In Sustainability, MCJ Climate Voices, Bloomberg Green
Additional: My Climate Journey Podcast, TED Climate, Zero Podcast (by Bloomberg)
4. Is there any consensus in the climate space about which sectors, or programs, deserve most of our effort ASAP? or is it kind of willy-nilly?
This is a wonderful video to watch that would help paint a nice picture of sectors!
Project Drawdown also has a lot on which solution areas could have the biggest impact - e.g. food waste.
5. How to prove to people that sustainability is important? I have a doctorate degree in climate planning and over 15 years of real estate experience it still hasn't helped.
Presuming this is for internal comms in your real estate company: Sadly, but also understandably, making it into a financial preposition. Showcasing risk + how it can be minimized, employee retention, reduced waste + more > these are all great, AND they also have financial implications which any business would care about.
6. I am not a technologist, (and come from branding, biz dev and partnership development roles). Can you speak to the job market for non tech people within this space, and any advice for positioning the transfer of such skills and experience to climate tech?
All the roles that exist ‘out of climate’ will also exist in climate. E.g. comms, the climate crisis is a communications crisis too, so the roles you have at companies now will most definitely translate often pretty straightly into a more impact driven company (even if they’re not screaming ‘climate company’, it doesn’t need to be climate tech). For example, local roles, groups, municipalities etc are all SO important and valuable, and have a great variety of roles. For partnerships etc, lots of NGOs and advocacy / policy groups will be searching for you, etc.
7. Do any of the panelists have advice for job search burnout? When you just feel so unmotivated but still have to keep going?
Absolutely! Seek a career that motivates you!
Don’t be afraid to take time to rest, and be kind to yourself. It’s a step by step process, can be overwhelming, and needs people with energy. The best thing you can do for your future climate role is have the energy to execute it well. Take your time to research and ask all the right questions before committing to your next role to make sure you won’t continue to face this burnout feeling.
Maybe steer away from a climate startup and try looking at climate companies that are a bit more established!
8. Thank you for sharing job search tips, could you share some advice on how to find sustainability internships? I am currently in grad school pursuing sustainability masters.
Reach out to companies that have just announced fundraising, and try to flag your interest in interning. Most often, companies DO have the desire for interns, but it’s not a top priority on their hiring list (senior management etc are longer wins + also more strategically important steps for the company after it’s just announced a big raise).
I’m such an advocate for all internships being paid, but also if there are ways you can harness some of what you’re already doing in grad school and work with a company at the same time (e.g. dissertation projects), definitely explore that route. It’s often not a case of they won’t do it, just a case of they haven’t explored it yet.
9. I’ve heard a lot about showcasing your transferable skills from past careers when you’re trying to pivot into climate. Can speak to how we can best balance a functional expertise (communications or strategy etc) and our perhaps “lacking” climate education or experience in interviews and networking?
Show that you’re actively exploring - e.g. plenty of free courses on FutureLearn, Coursera, edX etc, which could be 5-10 hours tops. Even if you haven’t finished them, showing that you’re out there and engaging in furthering your climate understanding might help.
10. Any specific advice for someone who has been in the workforce already for 20 years and wants to transfer their skills into climate tech?
Yes, apply! Look at jobs posted for various ClimateTech companies on LinkedIn! Or apply to a job listed at Climate People! There is also a section to just submit your resume! Take a look at www.terra.do and see how they can help your job search and attend one of their live career fairs!
Check out Climate Draft too, they focus on more senior folk.
11. You are all very young. I am 60. It feels like the climate job space is very geared toward the 35 and under crowd. I very much would like my last "job" before I'm put out to pasture to be in the climate space but I don't have a background in any of the sciences, marketing, Full Stack coding, or business. My background is in higher education and I'm not seeing a way to translate those skills to the positions I'm seeing advertised. And, I feel as if my "senior status" is an asset, even though ALL of the adverts claim to be all about diversity. Age diversity seems not to be valued. Thanks!
Age diversity absolutely matters! You could reach out to companies focused on getting candidates into climate and seeing if you could help educate folks on this path! You could also reach out to companies that you could foresee needing your skillset in the near future or in the present day, and network with them online and ask for a meeting! Market yourself and say how you think you could bring value to them!
I think it’s also a case of seeing how you can leverage your experience, network and current position too - if you’re in higher education, could your institution (making a few assumptions here) offer more by way of climate education? Are there engagement programs or ways to bring educational institutions/companies together to further the climate literacy mission? You have a unique vantage point, and climate doesn’t have to be a huge jump away from where you’re already standing. We need you, and yes it can be annoyingly young + tech focused!
12. What is the introductory climate science course newsletters Joshua mentioned?
13. How long did it take for you (or for the average person) to find a job in this space?
This answer can really vary! A bunch of us had this passion for years but didn’t see the right opportunity or it wasn’t the right time. Once we actively started looking for jobs it could be anywhere from 1 month to 1 year! It depends how hard you market yourself and how much time you spend networking!
I think the more you do, the quicker it can either feel or happen. E.g. if you’re actively engaging in projects, opportunities are more likely to come your way.
14. Thank you, Natalie and panelists, for putting on this event today. Seth, you mentioned that the climate world is large and you can often find the kind of work you want to do, but platforms like Terra.do and Climate People seem mostly geared towards tech recruiting. What about us on the communications/humanities side of things? I’m a Columbia Journalism School graduate and current journalism fellow at the University of Oxford. How can someone like me find a non-tech fit?
We’d recommend leveraging the same resources and following a similar job search format. So much of the advice shared today is transferable and not tech-specific. I’d also highly recommend joining the TOFU community from Alder and Co it’s a climate networking community for people in media/comms/marketing!
15. Once you have found an industry/company that you are interested in, what are some of the best strategies for overcoming industry experience requirements when trying to break into the climate tech space? Are those JD requirements hard rules, or have you noticed if they are more flexible?
Really lean into sharing the experience you’ve had elsewhere - it’s still valid! Climate isn’t some crazy new type of work, so if you have results from other work then definitely put that front and centre. Then yes, JDs are often wish lists, so take it with a pinch of salt!
Often, attitude and initiative (everyone is figuring out this space as they go, to some extent) are compelling factors - if there’s a way for you to demonstrate this in your CV by what you’ve done previously, then that could help.
16. Climate Tech is a new space, so naturally many companies hiring are early stage startups. For those of us who have worked at hyper-growth startups before (like myself), we’re likely familiar with the standard startup challenges: lack of work life balance or funding/financial instability. Do you have any suggestions on how to approach some of these tougher questions in interviews without coming off as an undesirable candidate who doesn’t believe in the company?
We need you! I’d swing it into learnings, always. XYZ was something i didn’t like elsewhere >>> ABC was what I learnt I value from the past environment I worked in. Lead with your values.
17. Apologies if this isn't the right time to ask this question but what recommendations or thoughts do you have about job seekers who are operations/support staff? I'm a Recruiting and employment brand leader and would LOVE to help find talent for climate related companies but I've found it difficult to identify opportunities for someone like me and/or receive responses to my applications. I've begun reaching out to company leaders to network and have only received one response thus far (but they're not big enough for me yet). And what kind of things do climate related employers look for on my LinkedIn profile and resume that will help them understand my passions, without overdoing it?
Here’s a webinar Brendan did on optimizing your LinkedIn profile to help you stand out. LinkedIn operates as a search engine, and you need to have those keywords to be discovered.
I’d encourage you to continue to reach out and apply — it’s truly a numbers game. Here’s some advice and best practices on following up to your job applications.
Climate People recently conducted a survey that pinpoints what employees should be highlighting when looking for a job in this space. The top three takeaways are (see slide 14):
- Don’t disqualify yourself: even if the company prefers climate experience, you could still be a fit
- Know the ins and the outs: climate companies prioritize candidates that align with their mission. Show that you do!
- Don’t be your own worst critic: Responses show a disconnect between how people view others’ roels and how they view their individual place in the industry. Don’t let imposed syndrome dictate your search!
18. What was the website that Leone mentioned that someone at MCJ put together? Climate Cycle?
https://www.climatetechcareers.com/ and https://drawdown.org/
19. Does anyone else, working in software/tech, feel a kind of urgency to work on something with high impact and reach? We’ve lived through an age of private company domination but climate work is a public issue, and get anxious thinking about how to make sure the things we build or discover are applied widely and efficiently.
100%! I think this is why 600+ registered for this webinar. We’re all on a similar journey where we are trying to make an impact while balancing the anxiety that coincides with our changing climate. I’d highly recommend checking out Pique Action and work from The Garbage Queen - they are very solutions oriented and have tons of great resources for eco anxiety.
20. How is the recession going to impact the job-search?
It is going to effect many industries negatively, and unfortunately we will continue to see layoffs, but it’s also a huge opening for the climate sector! This is a neat article you can read.
21. You've mentioned the importance of publicly demonstrating your work and learning, e.g., linkedin posts, writing guides. What ways of publicly demonstrating your work and commitment would you recommend for people who aren't very comfortable writing?
Some of the best content creators are actually curators. You could start with gathering information, then sharing it. It’s a fantastic way to learn, and you’re also not putting any original written content out there (which can be daunting and time consuming).
22. Hey! Just looking for tips to land a climate job with a masters degree in economics but no prior work experience.
One would be to volunteer, get involved in uni projects, show that you’re gaining that experience step by step even if you don’t have a whole load yet.
23. For a new person to this space. any resources for them to understand the various issues we can work on in this landscape ?
Here is a great page to show you the different sectors.
You can also look at In Climate where they help early-career individuals kickstart their role in ClimateTech.
Sign up for the Climate People Newsletter as well to see hot jobs being posted.
24. How does a company’s mission/values translate if you are trying to apply to a larger corporate company that is just now starting to begin climate/sustainability programs? i.e. their values might still be focused on their initial products/income and less climate focused
This is a great question! I’d encourage you to ask lots of questions and try to get to the root of their ESG/Sustainability initiatives. Are they genuinely trying to become more sustainable or is it just a greenwashing act? Find sustainability reports, dig deep, and ask for numbers! Employees have a special place where they can hold their company accountable, if you take the job, I’d encourage you to continue following up on this! Project Drawdown has tons of resources for making “every job a climate job.”
25. What was the master’s degree program you attended, Seth? I’m also considering school to really dive into the space.
26. How can we bring this into higher education so we don’t have to wait until working professionals have their climate epiphany? What can universities do now to prepare students today for a career in climate? Seems like they tend to be a bit slow to change curricula, programs, etc.
We’re trying to sell Terra programs to them :)
27. Would you recommend taking a first climate role you weren’t 100% sure was perfect (to learn and explore on the job)? Or would you really recommend waiting until the ideal role comes along (no matter how long that may take)?
This really depends on your situation! Can you afford to wait around or do you need to act now? We’d always recommend waiting for a job that speaks to you, but that’s not possible for many people.
28. My issue is that I’m super interested in many aspects of this space and want to contribute in any way I can… so it makes it trickier to hold out.
Then dive in! Go for it, figuring out out along the way. You don’t need to pick one role or one sector within climate for the rest of your life! It’s HUGE anyway!
29. Not enough opportunities for my role (UX Research)
So so many! Perhaps figure out a way to truly tailor the way you’re searching? Depending on where you’re based, check out Climate Designers too.
30. Any tips on networking/curating your profile when your current employer does not know you're looking for a new job?
You can make it so that your LinkedIn profile tells recruiters that you are open to work (it will not show anyone who is at your current company)! Networking doesn’t mean that you are looking for a new job, we always encourage people to network even if they are 100% happy in their role!
31. For those who balanced their search with a full-time job, do you have advice for navigating putting the word out there while not being totally obvious that you're looking for a new job? I've been open in communities like MCJ and WoCL, but hesitant to be too open on LinkedIN, for example
Yes! We can follow up in email with a longer answer, but definitely send your resume to Climate People!
32. Can you think of any technical skills that are particularly in demand that do not necessarily require a specialized degree to obtain? (i.e, R coding, Julia, Python, graphics, ext)
Anything software related is in need! I’d encourage you to look at job descriptions and see what the most commonly-listed skills are and brush up on those.
33. My issue isn't really moving towards a career on climate from another field, but rather building one from scratch. Having a climate background (not on the tech/science side) I am finding it hard to bridge the experience gap between me and other people that might come from a different sectors but have lots of experience. Is there an approach you would recommend for people that are just starting their career?
The SyKom video we played will be helpful for you! Follow those 5 steps to get started! :)
34. Brendan mentioned conducting the job search while still in a full-time job - I’d love to hear a few tips on 1. prioritizing job search tasks 2. being visible—without being TOO visible to your current employer :)
You can make it so that your LinkedIn profile tells recruiters that you are open to work (it will not show anyone who is at your current company)! I’d recommend doing that and then setting realistic goals and expectations for your search. What do you have time for? If it’s 2 conversations a week, make that a priority and try to achieve it!
35. Coming from the non-profit/government space, I feel there are great resources for the tech/start-up/private sector space, but less so in the public/non-profit space. Any tips?
This is a little out of our wheelhouse, but I would say that a lot of the job seeker resources still apply here.
36. Is there a way to connect "senior" professionals (25+ years, 19 years in sustainability and climate change) with all these young entrepreneurs and startup companies in a relevant and mutually beneficial space (systematically)? I'm having a hard time in my country to engage again with the job market. It is too fragile, variable, and intermittent to be satisfactory in a purposeful sense.
This is a really hard one to answer without much context! Please feel free to send some more detail to email@example.com and we can try to help you out!
37. I am applying to positions where I meet 90% of the qualifications and incorporating keywords into my resume and cover letter. Still, I am not getting through the ATS. Any tips?
Try to get the hiring manager to have a conversation with you! It’s so much easier to impress people face-to-face than it is over a piece of paper/LI profile. Send them a LinkedIn message, see if you have any connections that you can ask for a referral, and always follow up. As Seth said, if you’re getting ignored, 9/10 times it’s because they forgot and not because you’re annoying them! Be persistent!
38. I struggle with people not responding on LinkedIn. I expected that people working in climate would be more receptive and responsive to get more people to join the climate tech. Anybody have similar experience? Any tips/tricks to have a better response rate?
Why are you reaching out? I’d go the route of joining communities. Personally, I struggle to accept lots of requests which might feel random, but if they’ve come off a workshop or an event or a community then there’s some common ground there to begin with.
39. I don't have a question but this hour breezed by! I have dialed in from Hong Kong where it is almost 1am, but this was totally worth it. Thanks so much to you and the panel.
40. How (if at all) has the Inflation Reduction Act changed the climate jobs landscape?
There will be even more jobs than there are now! These startups we work with are getting 10-100million in funding in fundraising rounds!! Investors are big time looking at climate right now and large banks have massive ESG/green/sustainable portfolios!
41. Any advice on startups focusing on biodiversity?
42. I’m a job applicant with 3 academic projects that I am finishing up. As a result, I am looking to join a climate tech firm for 3-4 days a week for the next 8-12 months after which I will be able to engage full time. Do you have any advice for an applicant with my profile? How / when to let a recruiter know that this is my situation?
Yes, definitely! A lot of these companies are startups and could use part time help for positions they may not need full time help on quite yet! We would need to know your skillset to be able to recommend how to market yourself best! What type of projects are we talking about? You can email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more advice here since I am not sure how to answer the rest without more background :).
43. How about people with 30+ years experience (in my case financial management in construction/engineering) who are passionate about climate and sustainability and are now working as independent consultants. Which approach would you suggest for these part-time, project-specific "freelancers" or "expert consultants" to get started in the climate/sustainability space?
CONNECTIONS!! Making a name for yourself in this space is golden. Meet people, network, and leverage your connections. Always ask for referrals!
44. How long did each panelist explore the climate space prior to going into the application/interview process?
Slowly and step by step! I explored it via my own work first, then creating my own thing, then building friendships in the space and also tailoring my social feeds to make it easy to keep up (LinkedIn is great for that). Don’t feel like you have to do ALL the prep, but have a couple of stats, stories or areas that you can speak to + be open about where you’re learning.
45. Lots of PhDs and other specialized workers feel like their specialization can be a hindrance in the industry job market, where it’s unlikely to find jobs with exact skill/experience matches. Any thoughts on whether this actually affects the job search, or advice for framing a specific skill set to appeal to a wide range of companies?
This question is very job/skillset-dependent. I’d encourage you to leverage your network and find people in similar positions and learn from their experiences. You should always read the job description and draw parallels between your skillset and prioritize selling those.
46. Following up on the take the role answer: in tech there are many times non competes. If you take a role and it turns out to be not right, is the climate tech industry as a whole leaning towards using non competes or staying away from them?
Non-competes are no more or less likely in climate tech than any other industry. Just like other industries, their level of enforceability is highly variable depending on your role, the state you live in and your access to trade secrets. In general I would say that don't let a non-compete prevent you from getting into the space. They are generally very hard to enforce.
47. Any types of climate tech companies that you’d run from? I.e. Are there startups out there that are known to be chasing the $$ vs. the mission?
Climate Tech VC has great breakdowns of where a LOT of the money is going, vs the problem areas. This is just one way to look at it (and doesn’t mean those companies aren’t great) but look for morals + determination to tackle the problem, rather then determination to create the next unicorn :)
48. When should we ideally apply as master students ?
Whenever you’re ready! There’s no prerequisite to do a masters for this space, but if there’s one that grabs your attention do it ASAP/when you’re next ready!
49. Wow my struggle has actually been the opposite — BA in interdisciplinary env studies & masters in climate science, but lacking the actual skills & experience that most roles are typically looking for. any advice for how those of us with deep knowledge in climate/social complexities + solutions, but lack the more technical and conventional skills for typical roles ? How to skill up in our applications of such knowledge?
Look for chances to take highly operational roles, and look at a lot of deep tech startups where your background will be so valued even for entry level positions. e.g. carbon capture
**A candidate mentioned: Another master's program to consider -- University College Dublin's MSc in Sustainable Development. Offered online with live components with learners from around the world. Connected to UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and SDG Academy. And tuition is US$10,000 whether you are Irish/EU citizen or not.**